China Bans Hip-Hop Culture

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The Chinese Government has made smart moves in betting on the future of solar power, in their courtship of Africa and in their ban on elements of hip-hop culture earlier this week. With the ban, they were brutally clear: “Absolutely, do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble. Absolutely, do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene. Absolutely, do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class. Absolutely, do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity.”

In the Time magazine report, A Chinese rapper, PG One, “was forced to apologize for lewd lyrics which critics said were insulting to women and encouraged the use of recreational drugs”. In effect, the Chinese have said, “if that’s what Black people do, disrespect women, idolize sex, consumption, mind-alteration and violence, then that’s who they are. Don’t imitate them”.

Are misogynist rappers now going to speak out, concerned about their exclusion from the Chinese market, bemoaning the assault on free speech and picketing the Chinese embassy? Or will they hope few notice and there is not a chord struck in the Black community against self-destructive, violent, negative imagery beamed into their children’s heads and express their displeasure as #novulgarity.

A Washington, DC Mess

For the first time in my life, there is the very unsettling feeling that no one is in charge in Washington, D.C., and that competing self-interests, driven by heavily gerrymandered districts reflecting a slice of America, are running the show. It is understood by all that the president is a delusional liar, with the New York Times counting over 2,000 lies in his first year in office.

And now we have what was once billed as the world’s greatest deliberative body devolve into senators calling each other liars, complaining about a lack of trust, coming together in small groups trying to find sanity and a way forward. And then there is the House of Representatives where, like the Senate, too many have law degrees teaching them to argue on behalf of the client, not the truth.

And with a far-right, all white constituency as their client, national issues like immigration, health care, or anything that is perceived as helpful to Black and Brown people, are efforts that must be challenged. The congressperson’s first job is to be reelected, therefore their constituents must be satisfied, and the larger public good be damned.

And then there are the Russians and their cyber assault on the US. The silence about stopping their incursions may be due to their being great friends of Donald Trump and any disruptions they do in the midterms promise to aid the Republican Party. Like the Republicans, the last thing the Russians want is a Democratic Congress looking into their activities and threatening their “useful idiot,” the President of the United States.